Being on the road is part of my job. I travel for work, which means I'm in and out of airports more than you could possibly believe.
For a survivalist, this presents a massive red flag.
Every time I leave my home, and all of my stockpiled supplies, I am gambling. I am at risk of something happening that I am not fully prepared for, and that scares me. Of course, my EDC comes with me every time I have checked bags, but sometimes I don't even have this as an option. If I'm headed interstate for just the night, it's cheaper and more convenient to travel without booking extra luggage. And with most airlines charging fees for checked bags, it's becoming more and more frequently that I'm travelling unprepared.
Over the weekend, I experienced a small earthquake in a town I was visiting.
Not enough to do any real damage, just a few seconds of unease as I felt the ground move. It barely registered on the Richter scale, but it got me thinking.
Would I have been ready if something worse had happened?
All I had with me was a change of clothes and my toothbrush. Being totally honest, I would have been in big trouble if that earthquake had done any real damage, and I would have needed to act fast if I wanted to have any hope to survive.
Which is the point of this post today. The workarounds you need to follow if you're caught in an emergency, and don't have access to your survival stockpile.
We've covered what you should have in your everyday carry (EDC) pretty thoroughly in a previous post, but many of these item's you're going to struggle getting onto an airplane. You won't pass security with knives or a firearm, and definitely not anything flammable from your fire-starting kit.
So, without any checked luggage, the most you're going to have with you is a flashlight, your smartphone and a small battery pack, a little extra money
I'm going to say this again. Travelling without a fully-stocked EDC is a gamble, but I do it for convenience. It's a balance. I can bring less survival gear, but it also makes an emergency more convenient.
There's no heavy suitcase to lug around. I could cancel a flight and swap to another airline, or even take the bus without trying to get my checked bags back. I can change routes if weather or any emergencies see my plans rerouted. Plus, it gets me out of the airport faster, so I'm first in line at the car rental agency, and you'll never have to worry about an airline losing your bags.
I've had luggage lost, and it's not fun. Waiting 48 hours for your belongings to be returned to you, after an airline's mistake sent them to the other side of the world.
These days, I have checked bags on less than half of the flights I take. But if a disaster strikes, here's what I'd be focused on finding.
- Protective clothes to keep me insulated from the elements
- A shelter where I can get out of the weather and stay dry
- A reliable source of water that is not contaminated
- A system for purifying and storing any water I collect
- Enough calories to keep me fed and happy for the duration of the disaster
- Self-defensive weapons to protect myself from any other people
Now let's imagine something has just gone down. Perhaps an earthquake, it could also be an EMP strike, or any of a hundred other examples of a localized disaster.
This is your time to take immediate action.
Forget the people who are milling around, trying to film the crisis, or call their loved ones while the phone system is down, my first priority is to start getting supplies.
Of course, I'd send a quick text to my wife to let her know I'm all OK. But a longer chat can come later. Now is the time to ensure I make it through the disaster. First stop, a sporting goods store. If you can get somewhere like REI or even Walmart, you'd be able to buy everything you need.
Take the money you've got with you, and stock up on everything you need. $300 should more than cover it, but when I'm travelling like this I usually carry a little more cash, just in case, and I've also got a credit card that'll work if the store's systems are up. Just don't rely on your credit card, often in a crisis they'll accept cash only.
But what happens if there's no sporting goods store?
Next, I'd hit up a pharmacy or a grocery. You want the homewares section, and be creative. Duct tape and heavy-duty garbage bags can substitute for a tarp, grab a flashlight, and don't forget to stock up on batteries, matches and everything else you may need.
For food, I'd grab a bunch of high-density foods that will keep me going without needing to prepare them. Energy bars, protein powder, even muesli bars can stack up the calories you need to keep going, without adding a whole lot of weight to your kit.
Finally, I'd find something to defend myself with. You're probably not going to be able to buy a firearm without background checks and a whole lot of paperwork, so get creative. A crowbar can be a good clubbing weapon, so can a hammer, or even a box-cutter. Look around at what's available, and ensure you've got something to protect yourself with.
Of course, I'd be much safer with my concealed carry firearm or a can of pepper spray, but having something is better than nothing.
And that's what survival is all about. Having the right gear is a bonus, but if you've thought ahead and have the right survival mindset, you'll be able to improvise. And if you're quick enough you can get everything you need before true panic sets in, and the shelves in the shops are stripped bare.